How to approach your supervisor? Difficult conversations and Problems

14 September 2020 , Posted by Ellie Samuels & Julie Loveny

Most people either don’t like confrontation or are just not sure how to go about it especially in the workplace when it involves talking to your supervisor.


Tips on approaching your supervisor when it involves a problem:

  1. Describe the problem- provide your supervisor with an overview of the issue
  2. Let them know how you’ve tried to solve it- Explain how you have attempted to solve the problem and what the outcomes were or if you haven’t tried to solve the problem let them know any ideas on how you feel the problem may be best solved.
  3. Explain the impacts of your proposed solution to your supervisor.
  4. Discuss the benefits of your proposed solution to your supervisor.
  5. Accept responsibility for the outcome and don’t be afraid to try again if your first idea isn’t successful.


Tips on approaching your supervisor when you have to have a difficult conversation:

  1. Prepare- have a clear idea about why you are talking to them and what you want to come out of talking to your supervisor.
  2. Initiate- Find the right time to start the conversion, have an idea on how long it may take. For example you wouldn’t want them or you to have to be pulled away from the difficult conversation before it either being resolved or finished.
  3. Discuss- Talk to them about why you are there and what you hope to come of this conversation and if you aren’t sure about that discuss with them possible outcomes.
  4. Conclude- Wrap up the conversation by stating your understanding of the outcome to confirm you are both on the same page and know what will be happening from here.